By Jackson Santy ’13
All winter players, coaches and fans alike have flooded in and out of the Robson Gymnasium to cheer on the Brophy basketball teams.
However, when varsity players like James Harper ’12 or Timothy Kempton ’13 aren’t crashing the boards, a different team takes the court.
Led by coaches Mr. Matt Moore ’07 and Mr. Matt Smith ’06, the Loyola Academy basketball team has been making headway throughout the Valley’s elementary school athletics.
The idea of starting the team was brought into play by Loyola Academy Director Ms. Kendra Krause.
“The team was established in kind of a whirlwind,” Mr. Moore said. “(Ms. Krause) wanted to start a basketball team, but we weren’t sure how we were going to do it.”
To seek more information, Ms. Krause and Mr. Smith went to a preseason meeting being held for all the elementary schools in the Diocese.
When word got out at the meeting that the team would be playing in the Robson Gym, other schools instantly were asking to be on their season’s schedule.
“Coaches from the other schools were all trying to get us to put them on their schedule when they heard we’d be in the Brophy gym,” Mr. Moore said. “After that meeting, we had an 11-game season.”
Prior to the beginning of the season, the coaches held tryouts over a three-day period. All 32 Loyola students attended, however only 14 spots were open.
“Making cuts was a lot harder than I’d ever imagined,” Mr. Moore said.
During the cut process, Mr. Moore and Mr. Smith conferenced with each student individually and told them why they didn’t make the team and what they needed to do to improve.
After building their roster, the team was missing one thing—a name.
“As of right now, the team doesn’t have an official name,” Mr. Moore said. “We’re still in the process of deciding what to call ourselves, as of now we’re calling them the Lil’ Broncos.”
At that point, with the season right around the corner, the team only had four practices to prepare for their first game against Saint Theresa.
“We hosted the game at Brophy and ended up winning 27-13,” Mr. Moore said.
The team ended their debut season with a 10-1 record.
Like every sports team, when they’re not playing in a game, they’re practicing.
Practices are held every day in place of the players’ P.E. class slot.
Each practice almost always consists of stretching, warm-ups and layup practice.
“For every practice I plan out, my focus is how to develop these guys for high school ball, particularly Brophy basketball,” Mr. Moore said.
According to Mr. Moore, most of the players have never played organized basketball before now.
“When we first had them, they couldn’t even shoot a layup. But we’ve come a long way,” Mr. Moore said.
“We’re pretty much starting from scratch, they’re learning how to communicate with teammates, ball skills, shooting, everything. They all love basketball, they play basketball all day,” Mr. Moore continued.
Players like Fred Soto had only played basketball at recess and at home, before joining the team.
“It’s really fun being on the team,” Soto said.
“I’ve learned about teamwork and how the plays work,” Soto said.
“Our main goal is to win every game but I want the players to learn and understand the values that come from playing a team sport,” Mr. Moore said. “Things like learning to care about each other, learning to trust each other, and to learn how to commit to something that’s greater than theirselves.”
As for future sports at Loyola Academy, the faculty have been discussing possibly doing baseball, as well as track and field and “definitely trying to pick up football” next year.
Editor’s Note: The Loyola Academy basketball team, as of Jan. 26, does not have an official team name but has been called the “L.A. Ballers” around campus.
Related News: Loyola Academy launches as all boys’ middle school